Christopher Famous

Contrasting track records on the economy

  • Speaking out: OBA Senate leader Nick Kempe (File photograph)

Over the past few weeks and months, many of us have heard remarks from various One Bermuda Alliance senators and MPs about state the economy.

Perhaps, the most vocal on the economic front has been OBA Senate leader Nick Kempe.

Let us take a minute to look at the OBA’s economic track record:

• King’s Wharf project went over budget

• Forced West End Development Corporation to front about a loan for $39 million for Cross Island that the taxpayer now has to pay

• Signed an airport deal giving away all airport revenue to a Canadian company for 30 years

• Forced taxpayers to pay for any revenue shortfall for the same Canadian company

• 1,600 jobs lost

• A 5 per cent cut in government workers’ pay for two years

• No pension increase for seniors for four years

• Raised payroll tax in 2015 and 2016

• Cut investments in garbage trucks

• Cut investment in vehicles for the parks department

• Cut investment for public buses

• Signed a near-$200 million guarantee for a failed business plan that the taxpayer now has to pay

After looking at this economic track record, it is almost impossible to see how the OBA can want to lecture Bermudians about economics.

What is most interesting is that Kempe has remained publicly silent during the Morgan’s Point debacle, which had its financial genesis under the OBA.

Now, contrast that with the following under the Progressive Labour Party:

• More than $500,000 given in scholarships for Bermudians seeking to attend Bermuda College

• Annual increases in pensions for seniors

• Wage increase for Public Service employees

• Investment in buses

• Investment in parks department fleet

• Reduction in national deficit

• First balanced budget in 17 years

As it stands, every government in the world faces daily short and long-term challenges. In Bermuda, the PLP and indeed the OBA have faced and will face numerous challenges.

The question is, how do we face those challenges?

As a party founded on the principles of social upliftment, our focus has always been on the betterment of our people and our island home.

At times, miscalculations have been made and projects such as the Berkeley Institute, the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building and the cruise pier in Dockyard have run over budget.

There is no denying that.

However, the reality is those buildings are fully occupied and have paid for themselves, or are close to doing so.

This cannot be said of Cross Island or Morgan’s Point — now or anytime in the foreseeable future.

So, the question remains this: will Nick Kempe speak on these projects, which have cost the taxpayers nearly $300 million thus far, with no end in sight?

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm